NaBloPoMo # 28: To Have and To Hold or Spellbound by Jane Green

I wrote this review on British Amazon early in 2004. The book is called Spellbound in Europe and To Have and To Hold in the US.

Spellbound is a disappointing novel from Jane Green, who usually writes enjoyable “modern fairytales” like Bookends and Jemima J. In Spellbound we meet Alice and Joe, married for 5 years. Alice was the little mouse who was saved by the love of her life, Joe, who turned her into a fashionable trophy-wife. On the very first pages, it is clear that theirs is not a happy marriage. Alice is feeling insecure about everything, most of all her husband Joe, who is a serial adulterer. Alice does not know about Joe’s affairs, and she ignores all the typical signs of adultery.

When Joe takes it one step too far, he is transferred to USA, and Alice, who does not know why her husband is being transferred, comes along. In USA they start all over again complete with Manhattan flat and Connecticut weekend house, and for a while they seem happy. Pretty soon they start drifting apart, and after a year of keeping himself on a tight leash, Joe once again falls into the arms of a woman other than his wife. The question is,m how much more can Alice take? Is she perfectly happy in her Connecticut house, without Joe? And what about her English best friend Emily and her boyfriend Harry?

The plot is thin in this book. Alice is an annoying woman, and more than once, I found myself having more sympathy with Joe and his girlfriends than with Alice and her friends. I know it is supposed to be the other way round, but the “good guys” in this story are more often than not unbelievably good and perfect, while the “bad guys” seem much more human. I would have rated this only one star, but ended upgiving it two, as I, after all, did finish it, and also recognizes Ms. Green’s effort and work. It is a looong book, and not overly enjoyable.

This is the 28th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.